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Pointy-Nosed Blue Chimaera

POINTY-NOSED BLUE CHIMAERA ( Hydrolagus trolli ) Image modified from Wikipedia. Original image copyright Citron. Since it is Halloween month, I'm going to write about chimaeras, AKA "ghost sharks", so-called because they look really pale and creepy. There's not really anything else seasonally appropriate about them but whatever, ghost sharks. They're also sometimes called "ratfish", and individual species often have stupid common names like "rabbit fish" or "elephant fish". Nevermind that. Ghost sharks. OOOOOOoooOOOoooOOOOOO. Since one of the common names for "pointy-nosed blue chimaera" is apparently the much more frightening "abyssal ghostshark", that's what I'll be calling them for the rest of this review. Appearance Chimaeras are named after a monster in Greek mythology that was half lion, half goat, half dragon, and 150% badass. Apparently whoever named these things (Linnaeus, I guess?) thought they lo
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Ankylosaurus

ANKYLOSAURUS MAGNIVENTIS Image modified from Wikipedia. Original image by Tim Evanson Dinosaurs! Like most children, I devoted a sizable portion of my brain activity between the ages of 6 (when Lost World: Jurassic Park  came out) and 10 (when the light finally died from my eyes) to thinking about dinosaurs. For whatever reason, Ankylosaurus  was not one of my favourites or even one of the dinosaurs I thought about a lot (probably because it was not prominently features in the Jurassic Park movies). How do I feel about them now? Let's find out. Appearance Ankylosaurus  was a heavily armuored, and heavily armed, motherfucker with plates on the back and sides, and a club-like tail. Their skulls were covered with small bones, and they had horns on both the top and bottom of the head because having only one pair of horns is for dorks. The knobs on their bodies, as well as their clubs, were made of bony protrusions called osteoderms, which, incidentally, are present on moder

Little Red Kaluta

LITTLE RED KALUTA ( Dasykaluta rosamondae ) Original image by Marie Lochman These weird little critters were brought to my attention by my friend Jen Mawhinney of Fredericton a few years ago and have been rattling around in my brain (figuratively) ever since. I think they're pretty neat, but does my completely arbitrary rating system agree? Appearance Kalutas are unassuming mammals that look like adorable fuzzy little mice. They are not mice, but they're soft and fluffy with big eyes and pointy little snoots and whiskers and oh my god I can't even stand looking at them they're too cute. They fit in the palm of your hand and you could probably put one in your pocket and carry it around and give it little things to eat from time to time. Whoever gave them their common name (and their Latin name, which I'll talk about at length later) seemed to think that they're red but I would call them a staunch brown. So, you know, that's bullshit. Points:  0.5/

Crab Eating Frog

CRAB EATING FROG ( Fejervarya cancrivora ) Image adapted from Wikipedia Original photo by WA Djatmiko "Crab eating frog" sounds like a sideshow act where you get all hyped up to watch a frog eat a crab, but it's actually a crab that eats frogs. I don't know why a crab eating a frog is more plausible to me than a crab-eating frog. Maybe because crabs are horrible monsters and frogs are, generally, extremely cute. So, are crab eating frogs actually cool, or a rip-off? Let's find out together. Appearance Crab eating frogs look a lot like regular frogs, but their humble appearance hides a secret  while most amphibians cannot tolerate any kind of salt content, crab eating frogs (also called mangrove frogs after where they live) have a fairly high salt tolerance. Amphibians have very thin skin, so you would think that water would just leave the frog because osmosis. So how in the jesus jingling fuck do crab eating frogs not just shrivel up like salt mummies?

Basking Shark

BASKING SHARK ( Cetorhinus maximus ) Image adapted from wikipedia Original image by Greg Skomal / NOAA Fisheries Service Basking sharks are basically big whales, if whales were actually fish. Like every living human on this earth with a lick of sense, I love sharks, but I'll be honest with you, I'm real tired right now. So this is going to be a very special zoological review where instead of pitting some unsuspecting animal against my unrelenting scrutiny, I'm going to pit my exhaustion against my excitement to talk about sharks. Let's see what comes out on top. Appearance Basking sharks are really big and have giganto mouths that inspire google search prompts like "can a basking shark eat a human?" The short answer to that question is "no," and I'll get into why they have such big mouths that they don't use for eating big stuff in a bit. They are the second largest shark species, and also the second largest fish in the sea, bot

Giant Golden Crowned Flying Fox

GIANT GOLDEN CROWNED FLYING FOX ( Acerodon jubatus ) Image modified from wikipedia Original image by Gregg Yan Here is a thing that is true: bats are one of the most adorable animals on the planet.  Here is another thing that is true: big ol' fruit eating bats are even cuter than regular bats. They look as though someone took the cutest parts of a dog, a cat, and a demon and smooshed them together with a little fuzzy vest. But - is being super cute enough to win my respect? Let's find out. Appearance The giant golden crowned flying fox is sometimes called a megabat, and is in fact the world's largest bat. The name "flying fox" is not an exaggeration because they're pretty much the size of a small fox, plus they can have an up to five foot wingspan which is absolutely fucking nuts. They weigh around two and a half pounds which doesn't seem like much, but just remember we're talking about a fucking bat here. I know I said that big

West African Lungfish

WEST AFRICAN LUNGFISH ( Protopterus annectens ) Image adapted from wikipedia Lungfish are one of those fish we learn about when we are kids, and we go on and on about how cool it is that there is a fish with lungs. Then, you know, you go on and take a whole lot of biology classes and find out that actually a lot of fish have lungs and that lungfish are only really special because their name has the word "lung" in it. Today, I'm going to take them down a notch. Appearance West African lungfish belong to a group of bony fishes (as opposed to the sharks which have cartilage instead of bones) called the "lobe finned fishes". The lobe finned fishes include other lungfish, coelacanths, and (technically) all terrestrial vertebrates. The whole point of a lobe fin is that it is sturdier than a regular fish fin, and that sturdy fin was what enabled vertebrate animals to eventually make their move to land. To put this into context, imagine a goldfish trying to wa